Into the Crypts of “UGH!”

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Since the dawn of Heavy Metal there have been many vocal techniques created, mastered, and horrendously attempted by the false. One stands above all others…

Thomas Gabriel Fischer, a young and dapper man in his early 20’s, decided one day his voice needed to be heard. He was sick and tired of everyday life and was delving deeper and deeper into the darkest pits of music and culture only to find his solace in Heavy Metal. And all of you out there in internet land should be grateful for the fateful night in 1982 when Mr. Fischer formally started the seminal extreme metal band known as Hellhammer. This was to be the launching pad for Mr. Fischer’s glory and infamy. In 1983, under the aptly titled moniker of “Satanic Slaughter”, Fischer and the boys recorded two demo tapes: Death Fiend and Triumph of Death. Death Fiend would go unreleased, but it has the first known recording of Mr. Fischer’s famously infamous “UGH!”, the subject of today’s article.

Around the 2:10 mark the mystical sound makes its appearance

After Death Fiend, Mr. Fischer would change his stage name to the all-powerful “Thomas G. Warrior” and remain so for the rest of his career. Under his new moniker, he would go on to record a third demo and an official EP with Hellhammer before the band called it quits in 1984. With these four releases Mr. Warrior would go on to expand his signature vocal exultation, especially on Hellhammer’s Apocalyptic Raids, but it really wasn’t until he formed Celtic Frost that he would come to master this immortal technique. As one listens to Celtic Frost’s debut album Morbid Tales you will hear a great number of “UGH!”s spattered across the twelve tracks. While this album stands as a testament to Mr. Warrior’s songwriting and budding capabilities as a guitarist, it was still a honing process for the “UGH!”. Perhaps the best example of his practice thus far appears on the closing track “Nocturnal Fear” where he performs a trifecta of “UGH!”s near the end of the song and finally finishes with a powerful double-header, proving his dedication to the art.

The triple threat starts at 23:56, while the deadly double header at 24:33

At this point, you can forget all of what came prior. For now, we enter the sanctum. We go To Mega Therion. On October 27th, 1985, Celtic Frost would unleash on the world one of the finest examples of Heavy Metal to date, a record that has since stood the test of time. And what does Mr. Warrior introduce the album with? “UUUGH!” of course! Well, after a masterful use of timpani and horns, that is. After eleven seconds into the first proper song on the album, Mr. Warrior unloads a megaton bomb onto the listener. Never before nor ever since has a vocal exclamation had such weight. Mr. Warrior is declaring himself, marking his territory and scaring off all wimps and posers in his stead. And all that just from his first guttural exuberance on the record. To Mega Therion continues with an insurmountable number of “UGH!”s varying in both depth and length, solidifying Mr. Warrior as the true master he was destined to be. He becomes so engrossed in his technique, so enthralled in his performance that there are times when he can hardly finish a predetermined lyric before interjecting a concrete “UGH!” into his recording. This bewildering anomaly is most noticeably heard on “Circle of the Tyrants” when Mr. Fischer makes numerous attempts at the song’s title (which you can hear clearly on the rendition recorded for Emperor’s Return) but can only muster a primal “Circle of the Ty-UGH!” in its place. The sheer power of the “UGH!” is so overbearing that there is absolutely no escaping it.

At 1:15 you can hear the vocal perfection in action, at 19:34 you can hear the power of the “UGH!” compelling Mr. Warrior

At this point, everyone should realize how truly symbolic the “UGH!” really is. The ”UGH!” is more than just a sound, it represents life. The sound of giving birth? I guarantee your mom gave at least one good “UGH!” before you popped out. The sound of a baby learning to speak? Many an “UGH!” have been uttered by our youth and shall continue to occur until the end of time. The sound made when menial tasks and great hardships bombard a person’s life? The all-encompassing “UGH!” is there to set ease to the mind. Its strength and timelessness binds people across all eras. From the newborn in their crib, soiling their diaper, to the Viking lopping heads off of his opponents in battle, all shall utter the fateful “UGH!” in due time. Regardless of your walk of life, background, race, sex or age, the almighty “UGH!” defines us, gives life to us and above all represents our humanity.

I even got the chance to sit down with Mr. Warrior and ask him a few questions regarding the subject:

“What would you say was the biggest influence on your initial “UGH!”?

Warrior: UGH!

When did you realize this was going to become a worldwide phenomenon?

Warrior: UGH!

Do you think that by embracing the ideology of this sound, the world could finally become its utopic potential?

Warrior: UGH!

Any last words for our readers?

Warrior: UGH!”*

Bask in this glory!

Now, some of you out there may be wondering; Boss! I’ve made the sound before but when I try recording myself it comes out weak. Can you help me, please? And my answer? Yes. Yes I can. Much like the Force, the “UGH!” can be managed and manipulated to the will of its user, the “UGH!” Knights, if you will. Follow these four steps and you too can wield the “UGH!”, whether for recording purposes or life in general:

  1. Drink something – You need to loosen up and lubricate your system so liquid is key. When attempting the “UGH!” your drink should be but doesn’t have to be alcoholic. Beer is number one but anything with a bite will suffice. For all underage and tee-totalling readers, don’t drink an ounce of booze. A soda with a nice bite is a perfect choice as well. Grab your cold IPA or Dr. Pepper and take a nice deep swig.
  1. Power stance – Spread your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart to spread your weight evenly. You want to make sure you are grounded and that your outburst will not teeter you in any direction.
  1. Arms firm – Solidify your arms in a chosen position. Do whatever feels natural. Personally, I prefer the ninety-degree angle option with my forearms towards the sky myself.
  1. “UGH!” – Now that you are well oiled and standing ready for battle, you are ready to “UGH!”. Start low in your belly with the “U”, let it rise from within. Add the gravelly “G” as the sound passes through your throat. Finally, release this monstrosity from your mouth with the final “H!” Felt good, didn’t it? Now repeat.

In case my instructions weren’t clear enough here is a video:

So there you have it! A brief history, explanation and instructional video on the ever immortal, “TOM G WARRIOR UGH!” Share your favorite “UGH!”s in the comments below and maybe even record your own to show off your prowess. Whatever you do decide, make sure you’re having fun, as that is what life is all about. Fun and “UGH!”s.

  • Lacertilian

    UGH!

    Rumour is there was once a slightly diminutive but fiercely proud warrior who is said to have imbibed from the cloven skulls of slain posers as if they were goblets ’round these parts. As cryptic and he was cantankerous, he is believed to have possessed a phenomenal natural ability to UGH! with the truest of the true. Some say his spirit can still be found lurking here in the spaces between the light, and that if you listen closely you might hear a faint echo of his enigmatic UGH echoing around the bowl from time to time.

    • Señor Jefe El Rossover

      Befouled into the mighty depths, this warrior may rise once again to greatness!

  • Doom Scientist

    Don’t forget the occasional “Hey!” and “Martin Ain! Martin Ain!…”

    • Señor Jefe El Rossover

      I SAID… HEYYYY

      • JWG79

        …What’s going on?

        • Señor Jefe El Rossover

          Don’t you care about me?

          • Óðinn

            I care.

          • Señor Jefe El Rossover

            Ha! Thanks. I just thought we were quoting Manowar.

          • Óðinn

            Okay. I’m up to speed now. And, you’re welcome.

          • JWG79

            Were we?

            That might be a coincidence, I rarely intentionally quote metal lyrics. Has to do with having no circle of immediate friends who share that interest.

            Hence I was actually referring to the Four Non Blondes tune…

          • Señor Jefe El Rossover

            Looks like someone should Blow Your Speakers more often…

          • Hans Copronym

            Alas, with what shall they be blown?

            Oh that’s right… WITH ROCK AND RAAAAAAAWLL!
            Love that.

          • Señor Jefe El Rossover

            HAAAAAAIIIILLL!!!!

          • Óðinn

            I was quoting a Concrete Blonde tune. 😉

            https://youtu.be/aNZpkimAZSI

  • sweetooth0
    • Señor Jefe El Rossover

      Haha, thanks!

  • Doom Scientist

    Hands up everyone who saw Celtic Frost in 1987!!!(raises hand)

    • Señor Jefe El Rossover

      Lucky…

    • Señor Jefe El Rossover

      FreedomJew saw them on that tour, don’t know if he’ll pop up here though

      • Doom Scientist

        Seeing them in 2006 would’ve been good too. I missed that tour.

      • Óðinn

        That’s why he’s my favorite superhero.

    • Sid Vicious Promos

      I wish. I wasn’t born for another 8 years.

      • Óðinn

        2025? Because of President Elizabeth Warren?…Oh shit, I wasn’t supposed to say anything….You didn’t hear that from me.

        • Doom Scientist

          I think he’s referring to 1987.

          • Óðinn

            Haha! When I first read it, I saw I wish I wasn’t born for another 8 years.

    • Óðinn

      Can’t say I did. I wish.

      I do remember how funny that Cherry Orchards video was though, which was from around that time (maybe a bit later). My friend had it recorded. I used to watch it to see Tom do that weird hand gesture at the end. For some reason, I thought it was hilarious.

      • Doom Scientist

        That video was around 1988-89 from the infamous “Cold Lake”. The tour I saw was for “Into The Pandemonium”. The lineup was Anthrax/Exodus/Celtic Frost.

        • Óðinn

          Sweet. I saw Exodus with Suicidal Tendencies in ’89. I ended up meeting Exodus at the Batman movie the next day, which for me in 1989 was awesome. Saw Anthrax multiple times, but never Celtic Frost. I doff my hat in deference to you, good sir.

          • Doom Scientist

            I’ll be seeing Anthrax for the 6th time in May. ^_^

          • Óðinn

            Nice.

          • Doom Scientist

            May is gonna be off the hook: Anthrax, Mastodon, Clutch/The Sword, Kaiju Big Battel, and Tool.

          • Señor Jefe El Rossover

            DUDE YOU’RE GOING TO KAIJU BIG BATTLE?!?!

          • Doom Scientist

            They run shows in Somerville. I saw them last year too.

          • Señor Jefe El Rossover

            That’s bad ass! Was it as awesome as it looks on youtube?

          • Doom Scientist

            Even more so.

          • Óðinn
          • Óðinn

            Holy shit!

  • GL

    Wait, is this an interview with Gorak or not?

    Plz advise.

    GL

    • GL

      BOSS THE ROSS FLEXING

      OH MY

      https://i.imgflip.com/1lizwn.gif

      • Señor Jefe El Rossover

        Holy shit.

        • GL

          That puppy needs a NSFW label I TELL YOU WHAT

        • Joaquin Stick

          You been giffed.

          • Señor Jefe El Rossover

            I can officially quit the Internet.

            It was nice knowing you all.

          • Óðinn
          • GL

            ITS TEH GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIFFING

          • Some might say ITS THE JIF THAT KEEPS ON JIFFING.
            …And thy would be incorrect.

          • JWG79

            “It’s actually pronounced Jordon Jekko”

            “Jreed is Jood”

            *overdoes joke, undermines effectiveness*

          • Doom Scientist

            Reminder: Jif is peanut butter(my personal fave in fact).

      • BOBSON DUGNUTT BOBSON DUGNUTT

        His lower half is off camera. This could be him heaving out a feculent leviathan that was long perched in his loins.

        • GL

          You will have to take that up with the Boss. lol

        • JWG79

          Can’t see the lower half, because Centaur.

          Or possibly just Hung Like a Horse.

          • Señor Jefe El Rossover

            Definitely neither!

          • Rain Poncho W.

            I’ve met Boss irl. He’s definitely a centaur.

          • JWG79

            I identify as more ‘Left of Centaur’…

          • Óðinn

            Hiyooooooo!

          • Óðinn
        • “Feculent” >>>>

    • ME GORAK™✓ᶜᵃᵛᵉᵐᵃⁿ

      UGH!
      NOT GORAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      UGH!
      PROBABLY
      UGH!

  • Doom Scientist

    They lost their way for a while, but finished strong.

  • Simon PhoenixKing Rising

    Never has there been a more epic noise in metal.

    Except maybe “RIGHT”

    • Señor Jefe El Rossover

      Nothing beats the “UGH!”

    • Waynecro

      “GO!” is pretty cool sometimes.

      • Señor Jefe El Rossover

        Right before a solo>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

        • Waynecro

          YES!!!

      • Kyle Reese

        1, 2, 3, 4??

      • Simon PhoenixKing Rising

        “Go” is pretty sweet. But from my experience it’s more of a punk/hardcore thing. Hell, Spazz even wrote a song about it.

        https://youtu.be/RZ8O1AiDvIc

        • Waynecro

          I can see that, but I think know it more from melodeath than from anything else.

    • The Mighty Thorange

      I don’t know. I think “Look out!” by Dio is the most epic. https://youtu.be/dPI-IQq3Uds

  • Joaquin Stick

    This is the best thing. The best. Well done RtB.

    So Tom, what are your three favorite letters in the English alphabet?
    Tom: UGH

    • Señor Jefe El Rossover

      Hahah, that’s a good one too! I could’ve gone on for hours thinking of questions, haha

  • IronLawnmower

    My bands vocalist does a fucking great Ugh on our cover of Reaper.

    • Señor Jefe El Rossover

      Link please!

      • IronLawnmower

        Gutspawn.bandcamp.com and check out the “remastered” version of the ep

        • Señor Jefe El Rossover

          Duh! My bad dude, totally spaced on that one

          • IronLawnmower

            Don’t sweat it nor regret it

          • Señor Jefe El Rossover

            UUGH!

          • IronLawnmower

            UGH!

        • GL

          On your page, I read your location as “LAME, UK”. I felt bad. lol

          • IronLawnmower

            It’s the fucking worst. Tiny seaside town with fuck all in it basically run by wannabe gangsters.

          • GL

            Why can’t they be real ones? Do they just suck too bad at sucking? Seems like it shouldn’t be that hard. haa

          • IronLawnmower

            Well they beat people shitless in front of their kids and occasionally shoot at each other. Run every bar in town etc. They think they’re the mafia but they’re just scum

          • GL

            Yikes!

          • IronLawnmower

            Northern Ireland: come for the Game of Thrones stay for the paramillitarys!

          • Doom Scientist

            : (

    • GL

      Vid of it?

  • JWG79

    – power stance
    – fists raised
    – guttural bellow (sometimes but not exclusively “UGH”)

    Start with “find bathroom mirror, stand in front of it…” up front, and I’ve used this technique in my pre-job-interview ritual since learning of a similar but less-metal more-yoga technique from a TED Talk a few years ago.

    PS: I’ve never not aced each interview since then…

    • Señor Jefe El Rossover

      THE POWER OF THE UGH COMPELS YOU

  • Óðinn

    Nice work, Rossover.

    • Señor Jefe El Rossover

      Thanks buddy!

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    This was an excellent read. Truly you are a scholar and a gentleman Senor Ross.

    • Señor Jefe El Rossover

      Haha, no, thank you!

  • Count_Breznak

    Is there any record of him trying out other vowels before he found the U ?

  • RustyShackleford

    BRILLIANT! YEP!

  • Óðinn
  • Eliza

    That UGH compilation video brings me so much joy.

    • Señor Jefe El Rossover

      UUUGH!

  • GoatForest

    “Tom, what do you think about that lady with the huge wart?”
    UGH!

  • Waynecro

    This article is so good that it’s UGHcellent.
    *dodges a volley of hurled objects*
    Nice work as always, Boss!

    • Señor Jefe El Rossover

      UUUGH!!!

    • Señor Jefe El Rossover

      No hurled object today, that was UGHmazing!

      • Waynecro

        You’re incorrUGHgible.

        • Señor Jefe El Rossover

          Well damn! Here I thoUGHt we were friends, WaynecrUGH!

          • Waynecro

            That wasn’t a dis, brUGHther!

          • Señor Jefe El Rossover

            GUGHD to know!!

  • Max

    But what about “Hey!”? He was pretty big on that, too.

    • Hans Copronym

      “I said… Heeey!”

      He sure did, didn’t he.

      • Max

        On “Return to the Eve” he even said “Whey-hey-hey-HEY!”

  • Dental_Damnation

    I feel like Chance Garnette, formerly of Skeletonwitch, really brought the UGH back in a big way on those first 4 albums they did.

    • Señor Jefe El Rossover

      UUUGH!!!

  • SomeGuyDude

    Cradle of Filth had some amazing UGHs.